After graduating from Winona University in Minnesota, I moved to Cedar Rapids in 1969 to start my teaching career and be close to my future wife Holly, a special-education teacher. During my career with Cedar Rapids Community Schools, I held positions as an elementary school physical education teacher, soccer coach and a district facilitator for the mentoring and induction coaches of new teachers. When I first came to Cedar Rapids, I envisioned only staying a couple of years before returning to Minnesota. However, during those two years I discovered a community with great public schools for my three children, who are Washington High School graduates, and a district that allowed me to write my own curriculum, as well as encouraged creativity and collaboration.
As an elementary educator, I wanted to teach children the value of setting goals in life — both short and long term. I also knew success breeds success, so I strove to find ways to allow all my students to feel a sense of accomplishment.
Unfortunately, during the era of No Child Left Behind, we narrowed the instructional focus of teaching to “align” our curriculum to the test.
Classroom instruction focused on basic skills, and students saw a reduction of time for art, music, physical education, and recesses.
Under our new education law, Every Student Succeeds Act, control of our schools has been restored to the state and local levels. I’m seeking another term, because I am excited about this opportunity to provide children with a rich, well balanced education, and allowing educators to experience the same professional joy of teaching that I experienced when I first started working in the Cedar Rapids Community Schools.
I ask you to support my campaign for re-election to continue the work of ensuring great public schools for generations to come.
• Gary Anhalt of Cedar Rapids is seeking re-election to an at-large seat on the Cedar Rapids school board